By McPhilips Nwachukwu
THE death last week in Lagos, of an A list Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos and Professor of Computer Science, Prof. Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe, sadly marked an end to a progressive era of academic governance and productive scholarship.
Said to have died of cardiac arrest, Professor Sofoluwe, who reports said was healthy and lively on the eve of Friday preceding his death, became the 10th vice chancellor of the nation’s university of first choice, University of Lagos on January 31, 2010.
Born on April 15, 1950, the late university administrator studied Computer Science, and graduated with a Second Class Upper Division Honours in Special Mathematics in June 1973 from the University of Lagos. During his undergraduate years, he served the prestigious German scholarship award for academic brilliance; and was deployed to serve in the National Youth Corps in the old South Eastern State of Nigeria.
He also proceeded on Commonwealth Scholarship to Edinburgh University, Scotland, where he earned a Master’s Degree in 1975 and Doctorate in 1981. A scholar-researcher, late Adetokunbo started his teaching career as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Lagos and rose through the cadres to hold important institutional appointments. Apart from being two-time Acting Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1989 to 1991 and 1994 to 1996, he also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science between 1998 and 2002.
Professor Sofoluwe was elected member of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos in 2000, for four years. By virtue of his appointment as deputy vice chancellor (Management Services), he returned to the Governing Council in August 30, 2006. During his tenure as vice chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Sofoluwe brought his magnanimous wealth of experience to the transformational leaps that the university witnessed during his era.
It is to the credit of the late astute scholar researcher also that one can attribute all the speed and efficiency with which programmes at both the undergraduate and graduate classes were pursued and accomplished. Sofoluwe’s tenure brought a lot of dynamism to graduate scholarship and ensured that both students and their supervisors worked to time to avoid undue delays and unhealthy political interests that previously delayed completion of doctoral programmes.
It might not be surprising, therefore, to say that Sofoluwe’s era witnessed the highest number of doctoral students’graduation ever produced by the University of Lagos, all due to his ardent humanity, sincere scholarship and abiding faith in research as the needed vital tool for progressive civilization. It is also on record that the University of Lagos remains one of the most visible ICT compliant universities in Nigeria today.
This is because, Sofoluwe’s tenure as vice chancellor of the university made it possible for the university to hook up to the raging ICT grid of knowledge production and dissemination. This was, and still is, an important achievement for the late ICT scholar.
However, it is important to state here, that Sofoluwe did not do all that he did by chance and magic. He understood the power and importance of human capital and effectively appropriated it to good use.
He was a good team player and carried along his colleagues and members of the university’s governing council in all important and critical decisions. All through his leadership tenure of the university, he was not seen to exhibit the “I know it All” syndrome that define high offices in Nigeria, which often times negatively breed rancour, anger, hatred and antagonism.
But he witnessed interesting times. His humility and spirit of group effort worked for him, and helped to provide the needed peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancor and unchecked politicking for him to excel in his call to duty. Adieu great achiever.